Hard-faced men rammed their hats on to their heads
and sat silently in the saddle as though, for the first
time in the day, they really meant business. My heart
was in my mouth and it had good reason to be there.
Lord Dumborough was keeping an intent eye on the
ride which ran through the middle of the covert.
"Cut along up to the top end, Charlie," he re-
marked without turning his head; and a gaunt,
ginger-haired man in a weather-stained scarlet coat
went off up the covert in a squelchy canter.
"That's Mr. Macdoggart," said Dixon in a low
voice, and my solemnity increased as the legendary
figure vanished on its mysterious errand.
Meanwhile the huntsman was continuing his inter-
mittent yaups as he moved along the other side of the
wood. Suddenly his cheers of encouragement changed
to a series of excited shoutings. "Hoick-holler, hoick-
holler, hoick-holler!55 he yelled, and then blew his
horn loudly; this was followed by an outbreak of
vociferation from the hounds, and soon they were in
full cry across the covert. I sat there petrified by my
private feelings; Sheila showed no symptoms of agita-
tion; she merely cocked her ears well forward and
And then, for the first time, I heard a sound which
has thrilled generations of fox-hunters to their marrow.
From the far side of the wood came the long shrill
screech (for which it is impossible to find an adequate
word) which signifies that one of the whips has
viewed the fox quitting the covert. "Gone Away*5 it
meaRt. But before 1 had formulated the haziest notion
about it Lord Dumborough was galloping up the ride
and the rest of them were pelting after him as though
nothing could stop them. As I happened to be stand-
ing well inside the wood and Sheila took the affair